Opposition leaders meet to discuss economic issues

New Delhi: Senior opposition leaders met here today to discuss the slide in the economy as well as the ongoing Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations in Bangkok and the agreement’s implications for India.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and NCP leader Sharad Pawar were not present when the meeting started.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel and Randeep Surjewala of the Congress attended the meeting, which also saw the presence of RLSP chief and former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha, CPI general secretary D Raja, CPI(M)’s T K Rangarajan, RJD leader Manoj Jha, TMC’s Nadeem ul Haque, DMK’s T R Baalu, and Sharad Yadav.

There was no representation from the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Aam Aadmi Party. The meeting was convened by Azad who is the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

According to sources, discussions focussed on the joint opposition’s strategy to corner the government on poor economic indicators and India’s decision to consider signing the RCEP.

The leaders at the meeting were deliberating on a strategy to take on the government both inside and outside Parliament.

The Congress plans to hit the streets from Tuesday till 15 November to highlight the “failures” of the BJP government at the Centre on issues such as “economic slowdown, rising unemployment and farm crisis”.

Slamming the RCEP, Sonia Gandhi said on Saturday the agreement will deal a “body blow” to the economy, resulting in “untold hardship” for farmers, shopkeepers and small enterprises.